TOLEDO, Ohio - Go small ball or go home. Maybe that will become the mantra for the Temple Owls.

That's because the Owls are starting to find their groove without 6-foot-11 center Micheal Eric, who has a right kneecap injury.

Playing long stretches with four-guard lineups, Temple posted its second consecutive blowout victory Wednesday night. This time, the Owls defeated the Toledo Rockets, 77-58, at Savage Arena.

"Obviously, we would love to have Mike," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. "But we don't know when that is going to happen. So we've got to really take care of the ball, talk like crazy on the defensive end. And really play together without that big [presence] in the middle."

Temple improved to 5-2 in what was its 14th victory in the last 15 games against Mid-American Conference teams. The lone loss to a MAC team came Nov. 27 at Bowling Green in the first game without Eric. Since then, the Owls have won by an average margin of 15.5 points.

"We've been able to do some good things without Mike," said freshman forward Anthony Lee, whose squad held Toledo to a season-low 39.7 percent shooting. "But we do miss him a lot.

"So we have to really be on our P's and Q's."

Khalif Wyatt watched the first 9 minutes, 13 seconds of action from the bench. The Temple junior guard was benched for showing up a couple of minutes late for Tuesday's film-study session. Freshman point guard Will Cummings started in place of Wyatt. It was Cummings' first action of the season.

"Just pay attention to detail," Dunphy said of why Wyatt was benched. "It's kind of minimal. But we like to think that we want everything done as we need it to be done.

"It's not a big deal. He knows better."

Most people at the game realized Temple didn't need Wyatt against Toledo.

Aaron Brown scored a game-high 19 points in 22 minutes off the bench. The 6-5 sophomore guard made 5 of 8 three-pointers. As a team, the Owls made 11 of 24.

Senior guard Juan Fernandez (13 points) and Wyatt (11 points) were the Owls' other double-digit scorers.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com,
or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq,"